Flaxseed has been a valued commodity since as early as 3,000 B.C. Not only were the plant’s fibers used to make cloth but the seeds proved to be a reliable and nutritious food source. Today, flax is still a popular seed that can be found in an increasing number of products aimed toward improving health and well-being. Here are some the ways flaxseed benefits our health.
It May Prevent Cancer
Research has indicated that flax may be effective for preventing cancer of the colon, breasts and prostate. The main substance of interest in flax, the omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is to thank for this. Studies have shown that it prevented tumor development and growth. The seed is especially effective against hormone-dependent cancers. It is believed that flax works by blocking certain enzymes that affect hormone metabolism and by disrupting the spread of cancerous cells.
It’s a Good Source of Omega-3
Flax is an excellent source of omega-3, particularly for vegans. According to numerous studies, a high daily intake of these fatty acids is associated with better cognitive function, improved heart health, less atherosclerotic plaque buildup and reduced levels of inflammation. Research has also found that the omega-3 found in flax may help reduce the risk of stroke and dementia.
It’s Full of Antioxidants
Oxidative stress is a significant problem today. Besides uncontrollable environmental factors, many of the foods we eat and products we use tend to burn through our bodies’ endogenous (self-made) antioxidants and leave us vulnerable to numerous diseases. Fortunately, flaxseed is a wonderful source of antioxidants than can help replace the endogenous ones. Experts suggest that a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods, such as flax, may protect against cancer, heart disease, chronic pain, diabetes and many neurodegenerative disorders.
It Provides Fiber
We’re always being told to get more fiber in our diets, but with today’s busy lifestyles, it can seem easier said than done. Fortunately, flax is a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which may help lower cholesterol, promote healthy intestinal flora, prevent diabetes and reduce the risk of digestive cancers. Simply add a tablespoon or two to your cereal, smoothie or oatmeal.
When it comes to superfoods, there’s no need to look to the expensive or exotic. The humble and abundant flaxseed has everything you need. Best of all, it comes in several convenient forms, such as flax oil and ground or whole seeds. Try it today in your favorite recipes, as a supplement or as a topping on your favorite breakfast.